Why doesn't BART just apologize?


It's pretty clear that people are still mad at BART for cutting off cell phone service -- and that the agency is doing a miserable job of responding. The latest protest featured BART cops arresting people for nothing more than speaking out in the station, which leaves the train system in the horrible position of attacking First Amendment rights. And the protests are likely to continue, making life difficult for commuters and discouraging people from taking BART.

And it's all so pointless.

All the anonymous protesters want is for BART to apologize and promise not to cut off cell phone service again. That seems like a really easy solution. Cutting off service was a bad idea in the first place; why not admit it, enact a policy against future disruptions and call it a day? How hard can that be? What level of arrogance is required to ignore a simple way of resolving an increasingly intractable conflict?

The BART directors, never a blue-ribbon bunch, need to get their collective act together. Because this is really stupid.



What a sense of entitlement on the part of our dreamers.

Posted by Matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 9:58 am

When did it become part of BART's operating charter to be a cell phone provider. They are in the business of safely moving people . If, for riders' convenience BART provides access to additional services , why would halting those services amount to a violation of first amendment rights? If they gave us access to CNN on trains (like at the airport) and then decided to take it away because there was week long coverage of a train wreck on the east coast would you be up in arms? What about if they allowed food and had a snack car like Amtrack, if they took that away becuase the food was making people sick, would you be up in arms? WiFi, didn't exist 5 years ago, if they provide it then take it away because it's too expensive or becuase a bunch of nuts intend to use it to cause riders harm, would you be up in arms? Of course u would becuase your platform isn't really about what's best for the greater population, just what's best for your personal agenda.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:20 am

actually tool wifi did exist 5 years ago crawl out from under your rock

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:13 am

Get your facts straight before you call people tools, tool! WiFi did not exist on BART 5 years ago.....started in 2009. Read up: http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2009/news20090202.aspx

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 1:54 pm
Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

Then the protesters would have another protest because of the way "they" apologized. It's a no-win situation for BART. In the meantime, Anonymous, please quit punishing the commuters for something they didn't do. Maybe the commuters should have a protest against Anonymous???

Enough already with the childishness. And BART, you owe nobody an apology

Posted by Daily BART Rider on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:28 am

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

~ Mario Savio

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 27, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

Oh, and disband the BART police while you are at it.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:32 am

Rioting trustifarian says...

"I'm shocked and appalled that it's happening here," Peter Fein, 33, of Ellensburg, Wash.,"

Come to SF from Washington state, riot and run amok, and then demand an apology.

Posted by Matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:39 am

The big question I thought of after reading the news last night was simply, what's the end game for both sides?

BART Cops can promise to use their guns less, maybe go through a training program to learn how to not shoot people, and the BART Board can really actually reprimand officers who fail to comply.

And, agree that they shouldn't turn off cell phones if there's a future protest.

Then, the protests would stop, right?

Instead, we've got Linton Johnson claiming that the "Free Speech Zone" is outside the paid area, but BART cops push the protesters out of the station completely, and arresting people on the sidewalk catching members of the media and other passerbys -- and will now face further lawsuits.

All the while, they continue to build the stupid OAC connector, spending millions on a people mover that drops you off further away than the AirBART and takes longer to get there. Meanwhile, they cut service and reduce frequency. It's not the cops -- it's the Board and Staff, who could fix all of this.

Posted by triple0 on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:54 am

Well, unfortunately, like the US-Israeli war machine, power-mongers see apologies as a sign of weakness. Additionally, these types are constantly trying to avoid legal liability and apologies are akin to guilty pleas.

Posted by Robert Benson on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:36 am

NEVER to apologize in any situation that might lead to legal action.

But here I think the real point is that BART don't believe that they did anything wrong anyway, because:

1) They're not in the cell phone service business

2) Safety is always an over-riding factor

3) Had this been a private entity, as many transit operators are, the 1st wouldn't apply anyway. There is nothing about this situation that is inherently or materially different regardless of whether the transit system in question is private or public. For instance, an airline would not have been subject to such technical arguments.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

The fact that BART is "not in the cell phone business" doesn't matter a bit. BART is a government agency -- and once it started offering service, it can't cut that service off for political reasons. Simple as that. BART can choose to offer service, or it can choose not to -- but it can't offer service then cut it off to stop demonstrations. That's a pretty clear line.

Posted by tr on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

1) The public/private distinction here is moot. Had this been United Airlines or Greyhound shutting down cell service or wifi to frustrate a terrorist, that would not have been materially different than what happened here.

2) BART offers cell phone access as an "optional free extra". It is under no obligation to offer that and, indeed, could totally withdraw the service from all users tomorrow if it wished to. Your ticket pays for transport, and not communication availability.

3) The fact this was a demo means that BART has the additional excuse of public safety, which always trumps free speech "rights". But really, BART doesn't even need that argument since cell service is a conditional, discretionary service that it is free to provide or not for any reason, no reason or even a bad reason.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

1) United Airlines and Greyhound are private companies. BART is a public authority. There is a very clear difference betwen the two. This would be more like if San Francisco police, or the Feds were to order the shutdown of a communication service.

2) BART doesn't offer cellular service for free. They don't offer it at all. The celular companies offer cell service. The only thing they have offered is the place to put it. Even then they are subject to taxpayers who paid for tbe infrastructure, the police, and the BART system in general. The question here is does the any police force have the authority to shutdown a service for political or or any other reason.

3) not sure why a demo means they have the right to do something. It just means they have the ability. Public saftey is important which is why these protests are happening to begin with. I don't think shooting and killing unarmed people is considered keeping the public safe. Nor is cutting off access to help when you are in need of help.

I have heard that we have a sense of entitlement. In case you have forgotten. The US Constitution does entitle its citizens to freedom of speach, and assembly and the ability to petition our government. It also entitles us to life, liberty and property that can not be removed without due process. These are entitlements, or rights as some call them, that are not granted everywhere. Its also something we don't take in vain.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

1) BART operate, for all practical purposes, in exactly the same way as Greyhound or UAL. They provide transport. They are not a government department in any normal sense of the word. In the context of this topic, their quasi-public status is irrelevant and you are merely opportunistically piggybacking onto that.

2) BART don't directly provide cell service but they provide the locations to enable it, in much the same way as they lease to Peet's coffee, newspaper vendors, flower stands and shoeshine stalls. BART are perfectly free to terminate those leases when they expire, for cause at any time or in the interests of safety..

The ONLY core activity that BART are committed to deliver is transit. The rest is conditional, discretionary fluff.

3) The shooting is a red herring here. We don't know what really happened as no inquiry or legal proceeding has yet taken place. The only safety consideration is to the public who use the trains. The protestors have zero interest in BART users and don't care if they are delayed or endangered.

Losing BART service and not being able to get home is orders of magnitude more serious than whether you can get a dialtone.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

You're discomfort with this FACT makes it no less of a fact.

"The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District is a special GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY
created by the State of California consisting of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City and County of San Francisco. "


Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

Imagine that it was private. It would do the same job, and you wouldn't notice any day-to-day difference.

So why is it material here? The simple fact is that BART is not in the phone business. That's a courtesy only - you're not entitled to it and it's not a civil right.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

BART was already providing public access to wireless communications. This is crucial. It is BART's removal of what was established free public access to communication within its stations, that was a clear breach of constitutional rights.

Once a space (including the use of wireless signals within that space) has been made available to the public for free speech and assembly, the rights to access to that public space cannot be arbitrarily removed.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

(say) wifi on it's trains (it doesn't) does not mean that you're suddenly entitled to that service. It is offered only as a conditional, discretionary, ancillary privilege and is not any kind of "right".

You're really stretching the Constitution to areas's where it was clearly never intended to go. And the fact that BART has suffered no legal implications from their safety measure clearly shows that they are on very solid ground.

A few hippies whining doesn't change that.

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

They're being investigated by the FCC. Seems more than "a few hippies" are concerned about BART's decision.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 6:00 am

No matter how much Anonymous what to continue to misinform the masses, Freedom of Speech isn't absolute. Second, a transportation company not offering free cellphone service isn't an issue of Freedom of Speech. Anonymous wants to confuse people into believing that BART blocked cell phone service, in the sense that they implemented technology to jam any signal.

1) Government do order the stoppage of certain services for safe or limited resources issues. However, this issue is more like a train company stopping services on one route because of concerns they have. BART felt that the reason to stop the service was justified for commuter safety, even though it most likely wasn't need.

2) The question isn't about whether or not police have the authority to shut down a service. The question is does a transportation service has the authority to shut down a service they provide. Addressing the first question. Yes, they do have the authority. On the real question yes they do. Under both cases there need to be reasonable issue to justify it.

3) The police are there for public safety. That isn't a hard concept to understand. The person is question was believed to be a treat to public safety, but the situation could have been handled better by the BART police officers involved. All trains and train stations have various safety feature for their customers and staff to use.

It is time for the protestor to return to the train stations and apologize to the commuters.

- Not understanding that government can cut off services if their is a clear and present danger.
- Misrepresenting the issue by suggesting that it may be politically motivated, without presenting anything that would demonstrate that it is.
- Not understanding the nature of the technology is used, with some going to the point of misrepresenting the events that took place.
- Not understanding what the nature of public safety is.
- Engaging in willful acts of vandalism.
- ...

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

Oh, Look!
Those nice policemen are beating people to death with lollipops!
It's a treat to public safety!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 7:14 am

You know what's really stupid Tim? Punishing thousands of commuters for something they didn't do. Not only do BART commuters suffer, but so do Muni riders. These protests are entirely misdirected. People are fed up of these antics. I'm seriously considering joining/starting a counter protest.

Posted by Fed Up with these Idiots on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

I don't expect everyone to agree with me but sometimes getting people angry is the only way to get them to move. How many people would have paid attention to this whole event had they not been inconvenienced by protestors?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

I like your thinking.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

I was thinking more along the lines of dropping Sarin on a few small towns until they get the point.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

"I'm seriously considering joining/starting a counter protest."

Well go right ahead. No one is stopping you, until the BART thugs stop you.
But won't your counter protest "inconvenience" and cause commuters to "suffer" also? (including yourself by being off your regular schedule).
And if you think that "these protests" are "misdirected," won't yours be as well?....even though you're cheer-leading for the BART thugs.
Or did you not think all of this hypocrisy through completely before you wrote it? Because if one protest is "misdirected" in your mind, the same can be said about your counter-protest.

People like you would have moaned, whined and complained about the radicals called the founding fathers of this country. Some people thought the founding fathers' protests were "entirely misdirected." Some people were "fed up with their antics."

Many people in this country just love to shit on the U.S. Constitution/First Amendment. They think it only applies to them (when they want to use it), and the person I'm responding to sounds like one of them.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 12:58 am

BART doesn't need to apologize for anything. Those who are protesting about the cell phone issue just don't understand what the service is all about. It is those people who should apologize, for not research the issue before starting their protest.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

An innocent man died because of the brutality and unaccountability of the police force in place, next the cell phone and wifi connections are cut off. This is only the first step of removing your freedoms and protection. They now make you fear the protesters because of diruptions in the commute, another fear tactic to empower the people in place. A few days of protest for your rights is well worth the alternative...............think about it!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

Who's afraid of the protesters?

If I were on BART I would pummel a bonged out trustifarian protester if one got in my face or kept the train from rolling, what might keep me from doing it would be a BART cop in the distance.

Make sense.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

No it doesn't make sense.

You're sick.

Some coward troll hiding behind his keyboard trying to talk all tough and hot about violence against protesters.

You're disgusting.

Posted by Matlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

You my betters get to riot and antagonize people with impunity, if anyone dares return the benevolent rioting favor, its all so unfair? That is so odd.

You've given me reason to rethink my views on such things as; life, personal responsibility, and repercussions to the actions of others who are forcing me to put up with there actions (there should be no repercussions, run wild bro, I'll just let you take advantage of me, cool.)

I'm also rethinking a whole host of other things that go along with your entitlement to my life. I now see that your rioting and smashing BART machines trumps anything that I may want to do at the time.

My rethinking my world view based on your words of deep wisdom aside, why do you think you can harass people without pissing them off. Why do you think you and your out of state pals should be able run amok with impunity in this city? As I've seen the light of your deep entitlement to run wild like an animal, I will think twice about punching on one of you screaming at me or making me miserable with your rioting.

Oh and

"Some coward troll hiding behind his keyboard trying to talk all tough and hot about violence against protesters."

You did notice many of your fellow trustifarians are wearing masks as they smash the state?

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

BART COP keep the train running, you can't win by arresting people. If say sorry can solve problem, then do it. Or have better communication with the protestor, truly listen what they have to say. I always believe communication is better then shut down the bart station. Shut off cell service will not stop protest. We now can understand for a fact. if it work, do it again and see what happen. I believe we are civil society, talking and communication are better than arresting people over and over again.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

What do professional protesters want to communicate?

It would be like sitting down to figure out what a member of the Order or the Klan was upset about and trying to fix it.

It's nothing really specific, they just hate everything not like them.

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

great. nobody apologize. nobody back down. don't train cops. 137 recommendations made to BART & how many completed? 27? how many unnecessary deaths? 6 is it? yes, don't anybody apologize.

let's all just escalate the situation needlessly until things get even worse.

or how about some adult at BART central takes charge & makes a public statement accepting responsibility for past acts and promising to do better? is it that hard to find one responsible adult with an active conscience?

or better yet, how about the next protest, the people congregate at their homes.

Posted by cybelle on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

Who do they speak for other than other sour out of town shouters and the professionally disgruntled?

Do you want to the the Klan and the Order to sit down and hash it out with the FBI and the ATF over civil rights?

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 23, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

i think they speak for Mr Hill, Oscar Grant, me, and even u...

but go ahead and demonize them. compare them to the KKK.

close ur eyes if u prefer. maybe that will make it all go away.

it's dark in that meatlocker, isn't it...

Posted by cybelle on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 1:42 am

Seems to me that the people who don't like protests are making a two-pronged argument that basically boils down to one of two themes:
1. Cell phone service is just a convenience, so that makes it OK for BART to take it away.
2. Protesting causes inconvenience for commuters, so that makes it not OK.

The idiocy of these arguments taken individually is bad enough. The internet hasn't been around forever either -it's just a convenience, so maybe it's OK for the government to censor that too? And all protests cause inconvenience, unless you stay home and hold up a sign in your living room!

But taken together, these arguments bring a whole new meaning to the word idiocy. Let me get this straight...
-inconvenience to protest an authority that murders people -not cool.
-inconvenience in the service of protecting that authority -A-OK.

Got it.

Never mind the inconveneince of being murdered by BART police.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 6:51 am

people stomping their way through an abortion clinic to to make you think about their views on what murder is?

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 8:22 am

It's BART's job to run trains. Interfering with that is interfering with their core mission and their explicit contract with the local governments AND with it's paying customers.

OTOH, it's not BART's job to ensure that the free extra of cell phone service is always available. That's a discretionary benefit and privilege that can be withdrawn at any time as it's not their core function - merely a "nice to have".

As for BART cops "murdering" anyone, we'll see when all the facts come out. But in this case, as with Grant, the person shot was not a random innocent party. It was someone elsedangerously and criminally interfering with the operation and safety of the BART system.

Ask me who I have more sympathy with?

Posted by PaulT on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 7:33 am

First-world problem.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

Anonymous Leaks Nude Pics of BART Spokesman Linton Johnson:


(it's really no wonder BART can't get it together...ya'll need help.)

Posted by guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

oh god, no wonder it's taking forever for our revolution. People just can't agree to disagree. Yes, protesters do interrupt commuters, FOR A FEW HOURS. IF you know this is happening in advance, prepare yourself. Go out to dinner or go home early if you need to pick up your children. These people are practicing their rights, and thank god someone does. Wanting to start a protest against the protesters is so stupid i want to cry. People are like dogs, chasing their own tails and BART does not give a shit. The people behind it all, still have their nice paychecks. Commuters, prepare yourself. Protesters, stay strong.

In Solidarity

Posted by Guest on Aug. 25, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

I am glad BART police are out there to protect me. If you have ever been intimidated and spit on buy thugs and trouble makers on the platform, you will be glad they are there too.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

I agree with the reason why this group of protesters would be angry. I even agree with their loose demands. However, I don't agree with their tactics. Why haven't they targeted the BART board themselves? Can't they go to their houses and prevent them from driving out of their drive way? They want an apology from the Board, not from the BART riders. It would be different from they were recruiting BART riders in actions that were directed toward the heads of BART, it seems that many would, and even "organize" them to boycott BART all together.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 10:36 am

Without attention, trolls starve and begin look elsewhere for their sustenance.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2011 @ 11:10 am